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Lijiang Old Town

Nestled in the heart of Yunnan Province, Lijiang Old Town is a captivating destination that transports visitors back in time. This ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a true gem that seamlessly blends rich cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and a vibrant local way of life.

Introduction to Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town, also known as Dayan Ancient Town, is one of the three districts that make up the larger Lijiang Old Town area, along with Shuhe Ancient Town and Baisha Ancient Town. Dating back over 800 years, this historic town is a remarkable example of traditional Naxi architecture, with its intricate wooden structures, cobblestone streets, and winding canals.

Highlights of Lijiang Old Town

Mu Family Mansion (Mufu)

Considered the “Forbidden City of the South,” the Mu Family Mansion is a must-visit attraction in Lijiang Old Town. This grand complex, once the residence of the Mu clan rulers during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, showcases exquisite architecture that blends Han, Bai, and Naxi styles.

Black Dragon Pool

Surrounded by the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the iconic Five Arch Bridge, the Black Dragon Pool is a serene oasis in the heart of Lijiang Old Town. Its name derives from the intricate limestone patterns on the pool’s bottom, resembling the coils of a black dragon.

Sifang Street

Sifang Street, also known as Square Street, is the bustling heart of Lijiang Old Town. This pedestrian-friendly area is lined with traditional Naxi buildings, souvenir shops, and local eateries, offering visitors a glimpse into the vibrant daily life of the town.

Wangu Tower

Perched atop Lion Hill, the Wangu Tower is a historic watchtower that offers panoramic views of Lijiang Old Town and the surrounding landscapes. Climbing to the top of this tower is a rewarding experience, providing a unique perspective on the town’s architectural marvels.

Practical Tips for Visitors

Best Time to Visit

The spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) seasons are considered the best times to visit Lijiang Old Town, offering mild temperatures and clear skies for optimal sightseeing.

Getting There

Lijiang Old Town is easily accessible from major cities in Yunnan Province. Visitors can take a direct flight to Lijiang Sanyi International Airport or opt for a scenic train journey to Lijiang Railway Station.[2]

Entrance Fees and Opening Hours

To enter Lijiang Old Town, visitors must purchase a maintenance fee ticket, which costs approximately 80 CNY (around $12 USD) per person. The town is open daily, with most attractions operating from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Guided Tours and Transportation

While it’s possible to explore Lijiang Old Town independently, joining a guided tour can provide valuable insights into the town’s history and cultural significance. Additionally, many tour operators offer transportation options, making it easier to navigate the area.


Lijiang Old Town offers a wide range of accommodation options, from traditional guesthouses to modern hotels. For an authentic experience, consider staying in one of the historic inns or courtyard houses within the town’s walls.

Lijiang Old Town is a true gem that offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its well-preserved architecture, vibrant local life, and stunning surroundings, this ancient town promises an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of China’s cultural heritage.